As I have often stated, there is a long and ubiquitous history of erotic art in all cultures. The ancient Greeks were perhaps the first people who truly captured the beauty of eroticism in way that no one else had done. Even today their sexual proclivities and artistic expressions of sex are still controversial. The photos in this post, although you might find them in a museum, and perhaps would be worth quite a bit of money at an auction, might get you in trouble at work or school if the wrong person saw them.
These images are from two vase paintings. I am not sure of their exact date, but I would guess somewhere around the fifth or fourth century BC. What they display so well is the Greek love of simple beauty: the clear lines, the straightforwardness of the sexual acts, the overall lack of adornment and exaggeration in compositions which are still balanced and harmonious and naturalistic, all speak to a culture that enjoyed and understood the basic necessity of sexual pleasure in life. The Greeks loved beauty, and they especially loved the beauty of the human body. What makes these particular objects all the more interesting is that they are items that most likely would have been accessible to a person of at least modest means. Unlike expensive statues, usually made of bronze or marble, a vase painting is not a terribly costly or difficult item to create. What we have remaining today, mostly now in museums, are the ones that have survived and been rediscovered after two thousand years. Perhaps they were once part of a brothel? Or perhaps they belonged to a private collection in a house? It is hard to say. Whatever the case, we can only assume that many others like these once existed, which have now been lost forever to the ravages of time.
What ancient vase paintings show is how people have always enjoyed erotic depictions, even porn, for thousands of years. Both the creation and consumption of erotica is simply part or our nature, whether we like it or not. And in the hands of a skilled artist, such as these vase painters were, that consumption can be a true enjoyment indeed.
Southern Man said:
I have a nice book of erotica with photos of both of these pieces, uncensored. Sadly that book (and most of my erotica) is in cold storage somewhere after several moves. I believe the caption to the second was a reference to Greek prostitutes and their preference for, er, the back door.
Racer X said:
Thanks for the reference! Yeah, most of these vase painting usually depict a scene with a prostitute, rather than some hidden part of Greek domestic life. And the back door was a common trait back then too…